1School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, 2School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, 3Laboratório de Ciências Ambientais, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro, 4Centro de Conservação e Manejo de Fauna da Caatinga, Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, 5Departamento de Biologia Animal, Universidade de Viçosa
Thursday All day, Clinch Concourse
Non-human primates can serve as potential reservoirs for zoonotic pathogens that can be transmitted to humans. As cities expand into primate environments, the potential for human and non-human primate contact increases, and thus the potential spread of zoonotic pathogens also increases. Identifying specific pathogens harbored in primates with close proximity to humans helps to assess disease spread and exposure threats in these areas. The purpose of this study is to diagnose whether marmosets (genus Callithrix) living in close proximity to humans in north and south eastern Brazil harbor Mycobacterium species that can be transmitted to humans, specifically M. tuberculosis and M. leprae which respectively cause tuberculosis and leprosy. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), using custom-designed TaqMan primers and probes designed to identify M. tuberculosis or M. leprae gene fragments, was used to identify the presence or absence of Mycobacterium in marmoset cheek swab samples. Initial testing indicates that these samples are negative for M. leprae. However, out of the eighty-eight tested marmoset samples, nineteen are positive for the Mycobacterium gene rpoB. Sequencing of these positive PCR fragments will allow us to confirm the specificity of this test and rule out the possibility of positives due to previously undiscovered environmental mycobacterial species. Marmosets positive for rpoB were found in areas of Rio de Jeneiro as well as other parts of north and south eastern Brazil frequented by humans. Identifying such pathogen exposed primate populations is important for determining zoonotic transmission pathways between human and non-human primates.